Golf analysts: 'pressure got to Rory'

Did the pressure of completing the career Grand Slam cripple Rory McIlroy?

Charlie Lemay's picture
Tue, 10 Apr 2018
Golf analysts: 'pressure got to Rory'


When Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy took to the third tee on Sunday with just a stroke separating them, the clever money must have been going on the Northern Irishman.

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With four majors in the bank compared to Reed’s none and a recent win at Bay Hill still resonating, the bookies slashed his odds to even.

But then golf happened.

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But why did Rory fail to perform? “Pressure” was the reason, according to Golf Channel analysts.

David Duval

I was surprised. I expected a lot more from Rory today. Goes to show that nobody’s exempt from the pressures and the crunch of trying to win major championships, let alone complete the career Grand Slam.

You could definitely see there was a bit of some hold-on in his golf swing, some hold-on in his putting stroke, the free-flowingness that he had had at Bay Hill and through the first three days here. It was a little tighter and you expect it be a little tighter. But I expected a lot more today than he showed us.

There’s no way around it. Hitting eight greens in the final round will never get it done. This is going to be a tough one. It’s going to keep stacking on as the years go by as he doesn’t win this one. And there’s no one to say that he will for sure. We all believe he will. We all believe he can play this golf course and we all believe he will probably win it, but it doesn’t mean he will.

Brandel Chamblee on first tee shot

That was probably the worst tee shot in the final round of a major, in the final group of a major, that I’ve ever seen or probably ever will see.

Every athlete is looking for that perfect balance of caring and not caring. Sometimes you get there by accident, sometimes you get there through effort, but it’s always ephemeral. It’s like you get invited into heaven, but there’s a bouncer there and he’s going to kick you out.

And I listened to him [Saturday] night and it was obvious to me that he was really trying hard to defer the pressure. I thought it said volumes about the pressure he was feeling. And it was evident from the very first swing he made today.

You do not forget that tee shot off one. You don’t. There’s a crucial role for amnesia…you really need to be able to forget those things. But that’s a really hard shot to forget.

Nobody’s immune from pressure. Ben Hogan had a three-shot lead here in 1954, shot 75. In ’52 he was tied for the lead and shot 79. There was no Golf Channel back then to sit around and dissect, ‘is Ben Hogan losing his mind or his golf swing? Is he ever going to win again?’ Unfortunately now with all the money they make comes the scrutiny.

Frank Nobili...also on that first tee shot

(it was) the worst swing I’ve seen him make all week. And he was lucky it didn’t go out of bounds. If it had gone out of bounds that might have been better, to be honest. And re-tee and say, ‘where did this come from?’

The occasion was probably far bigger than what even we realise taking everything else into consideration. If you go through his whole round I don’t think you find three good swings in a row.